April 29, 2014 — Google is removing most web search ads sponsored by antiabortion-rights crisis pregnancy centers after a NARAL Pro-Choice America investigation found that the ads violate the company's policy against false advertising, the Washington Post's "The Switch" reports (Tsukayama, "The Switch," Washington Post, 4/28).
According to a NARAL analysis, when Google users search for "abortion clinic," they get ads for CPCs 79% of the time (Hattem, The Hill, 4/28). NARAL found that the ads often contained intentionally misleading and false information. Although CPCs primarily provide counseling services and information on abortion alternatives, the ads often suggested that the facilities are medical clinics, according to "The Switch."
NARAL presented its findings to Google, which said the group successfully demonstrated the ads violated the company's policies against deceptive advertising in its AdWords program. In a statement, the company noted that AdWords' policies "include strict guidelines related to ad relevance, clarity and accuracy" ("The Switch," Washington Post, 4/28).
More than two-thirds of the ads NARAL indicated to Google as being deceptive have been removed, the group said.
NARAL President Ilyse Hogue said in a statement, "Anyone looking for abortion services should be able to depend on their search engine to provide them with accurate resources." She added, "Anything less is aiding and abetting ideologically driven groups with a calculated campaign to lie to and shame women making one of the most important decisions of our lives."
Meanwhile, National Right to Life Committee President Carol Tobias said in an email to The Hill, "Google is waging a war on women by limiting knowledge of the options and services available to women." She added, "Google's decision to refuse ads by the centers is unconscionable" (The Hill, 4/28).